Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Parallels Desktop 12 Arrives

Parallels today updated their virtualisation software, Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac (PD12). With PD12, Mac users can run Windows, Linux, Android and even other OS X virtual instances on their Mac computers. The new release of PD12 comes ahead of Apple’s release of macOS Sierra later this year.

Support for the new macOS Sierra will of course, be one of the features of PD12. Other highlights include one year of Acronis True Image 500 GB cloud backup storage, support for Windows 10 Xbox app, and improved Retina support for resizing  Windows VMs.

Parallels solves a problem many Mac users face in trying to run Windows on their Mac. You see, they first have to have Windows! But what if they didn’t already have Windows? You can now buy Windows 10 directly from Parallels Desktop, and then have it installed via the Parallels Desktop Wizard. It’s a really nice, convenient, feature.

For power users, performance will be something of particular interest. PD12 boasts over 25% performance improvements:

  • Up to 90% faster snapshot creation
  • Up to 60% faster suspend of VMs
  • Up to 25% faster shared folders performance
  • Up to 10% battery life improvement
  • Up to 25% faster compiling Visual Studio projects on shared folders
  • Improved VM responsiveness when the Mac is low on free memory

Parallels continues to put focus on simplicity for end users. Making it easy to get a copy of Windows, mentioned above, is just one of the ways. Another feature is the new Parallels Toolbox, which features more than 20 simple single-function tools and utilities. Novice users, for example, who likely won’t know or remember the keyboard shortcut key for making screenshots, will find it much easier to just click a button in the Parallels Toolbox. Keeping your Mac from going to sleep, surprisingly requiring a command in the Terminal shell, is now a button click in the Parallels Toolbox. Expert users, however, will probably not be terribly dependent on these tools.

A nice new feature I do like in the Parallels Toolbox is about downloading videos for offline viewing later. You can download videos from YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and maybe a few other video services, so that you can catch up on them later, like when you’re offline on a long-haul flight.

To be brutally honest, all the new features in PD12 are nice, but overall nothing really crucial. However, the performance improvements alone could be important enough reasons for some users.

The Pro Edition adds a couple of useful features especially for developers. For example, a Network Conditioner feature allows you to mimic network bottlenecks, including bandwidth, delays and packet loss. You can also limit VM resources on the fly, and archive VMs while they are running.

PD12, the Pro Edition, and the Business Edition, are available today for subscribers and upgraders from Parallels Desktop 10 and 11. General availability is 23 August 2016 at www.parallels.com/desktop and at local retail and online stores worldwide.

The standard edition of PD12 will cost S$108, while perpetual license upgraders from 10 and 11 will pay S$68. Upgraders from the perpetual license have the option to upgrade to the Pro Edition subscription at S$68 per year for life.

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